Peter left the boat while the other eleven Jesus-followers stayed put. The impressive King David fled his own realm when his renegade son, Absalom, facilitated a coup. Peter, the aforementioned water-walker, was the same man who trembled in the presence of a teenage girl and denied his Savior. Frankly, all the disciples scattered like birds when the rock of man’s rejection was hurled at Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. Whether it is Abraham and Isaac’s propensity to lie about their wives, Esther’s initial reluctance to go uninvited into the king’s presence, or Saul’s paranoia that he would lose his privilege to a younger and more noble David, it is clear in Scripture that there is always something for people to fear.
“The sluggard says, “There is a lion outside! I shall be killed in the streets!” – Proverbs 22:13
We are in a season which is characterized by the Father calling His children into deeper steps of faith that require greater measures of trust. The proverb above embodies the paralysis of analysis which can easily take hold of us if we allow it. For fear of the potential dangers awaiting us as we step into the streets of life, we might potentially choose to live behind tightly bolted doors, with drawn window-shades, avoiding the danger that is far bigger in our minds than it is in actuality.
We fear that we are too young to be authenticated by the old.
We fear that we are too old to be valued by the young.
We fear that the potential for loss is far greater than the value of gain, so we stop taking risks…or never begin.
We fear getting a virus so we keep giving away our freedoms to secure a sense of insulation from sickness.
We fear the opinions of others, so we play it safe and imbibe the status-quo day after day.
We fear being forgotten, ignored or undervalued so we make a whole lot of noise.
We fear those who think differently than us so we treat them as dangerous enemies.
We fear death, so we structure so much of our lives to survive and, in the end, find that we barely ever lived.
We fear change, so we live in an inferior reality because we treasure the known above the unknown.
Fear is a bully, masquerading as a wiseman, keeping many from their inheritance under the guise of their need to prioritize “living responsibly”. Fear does not wish to guide you, it comes to swallow you. It is like an anaconda that first squeezes the life out of you, and then slowly digests you. Friends, fear doesn’t mind taking its time with you. It knows it will consume you in the end as long as you sit still and do not resist it.
So, stop fertilizing your fears. Combat fear with the only proven practice that will bring it to ruin: enthroning faith.
Christian friend, don’t waste the promises made to you by the King. He has made us sons of the Father (you too, ladies), with all of the inherent rights and privileges afforded that inestimable position. Your identity carries authority. Fear seeks to tyrannize you into exchanging this reality for the existence of one who never leaves the house because they are convinced that a lion awaits at the mail box in order to make a meal of the first passerby. Interestingly, there are lions out there. Lots of them. Yet, their existence was never meant to become your life-sentence to the prison of playing-it-safe. Christians are to be lion-tamers. Ask Daniel. Ask David who, as a shepherd-boy, took one lion by the mane and sent it to that great zoo in the sky. Peter portrayed Satan as a roaring lion looking for someone to devour, but he never instructed us to hide in the house from those teeth and growls. Yes, there are many fearsome lions out there, friends. But they are on a shortened leash held by an omnipotent hand.
A hand belonging to a Father whose other hand is protecting you.
So today is not a good day for you to be intimidated. Today is not suitable for worry, anxiety, timidity or morbid scenarios of the mind all painted in gray. Go out into your assigned streets and walk up and down them with the Father. This is part of faith. We are allowed to feel anxious – that’s a sensory issue. We are not allowed to be anxious – that’s a misidentification issue. You are beloved. You are provisioned. You are accepted. You are shepherded. You are complete. You are blessed. You are favored. It is well with your soul. There is no condemnation upon you. God is for you, so nothing can ultimately prevail against you. You are an overcomer – His overcomer!
And you are accompanied today by One who has never failed and is not in the slightest afraid of what seeks to threaten you.
Let all your lions chew on that.